The total number of disability grant recipients has increased to just over one million. That is according to Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu who was addressing a media conference earlier.

She says 14% of the grants are for temporary provisions, while 86 % are for permanent financial support.

“The total number of the disability grant on the system as of March 2021 is 1.1 million. Of these, 86 % are permanent disability grants. With only 14 % being temporary. So, in all facts, because figures don’t lie, the 86 % are those who normally get their grants as they have been receiving them before. ”

Government has extended the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant for another three months as part of additional measures that are being implemented to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Zulu says about six million beneficiaries are currently receiving the grant.

” The 9.7 million that had already applied will continue to be re-assessed monthly and qualifying applicants will continue to be paid in the same way that we were doing before. About six million beneficiaries received this grant on a monthly basis. The Department has spent over R17 billion thus far on this grant benefiting those in need of direct income. We anticipate that by the end of the extended period we would have spent over R22 billion to support this group of beneficiaries.”

Minister Lindiwe Zulu briefs the media on social relief measures aimed to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic: 

 

The Department says it has received 27 000 applications from various civil society groups for financial assistance in their Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres under the COVID-19 pandemic relief fund.

Zulu says while the pandemic has caused a lot of distress to many learners from poor families, it has also provided some opportunities.

“We have now received 27 000 ECD applications, to have such accurate information on ECD programmes and the size of the workforce. Indeed COVID-19 has brought many challenges, but at the same time, this shows the opportunities it has brought to the government and the ECD sector. This data will help us moving forward in planning and processing our systems to enable us to have informed targeted interventions. ”

Meanwhile, she has again refuted allegations that she instructed the police in Bellville, Cape Town to spray South African Social Security Agency (Sassa)  grant recipients including the elderly with water cannons outside the offices.

The incident occurred last month during her official two-day visit to assess the work of the office. During her media briefing in Parliament,  Zulu reiterated her initial stance after the incident that there is no truth in the allegations that she was behind the incident.

” Yes, the police did spray the people, yes I did ask them to stop. Yes, I spoke to the Minister of Police Bheki Cele for us to get a report on that. But I suppose Sassa will have to deal with that. But also the command line of the police will have to deal with that. “